Sunday, March 29, 2020

Checking in with Orwell.....................

There are some things only intellectuals are crazy enough to believe.

One is almost driven to the cynical conclusion that men are only decent when they are powerless.

Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea.

The thing that strikes me more and more—and it strikes a lot of other people, too—is the extraordinary viciousness and dishonesty of political controversy in our time.  I don't mean merely that controversies are acrimonious.  They ought to be that when they are on serious subjects.  I mean that almost nobody seems to feel that an opponent deserves a fair hearing or that the objective truth matters as long as you can score a neat debating point.  (December, 1944)

The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils.

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. This is an illusion, and one should recognise it as such,. . .

Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.

The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: . . .

Fate seemed to be playing a series of extraordinarily unamusing jokes.

It is almost impossible to think without talking. ... Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.

-attributed to George Orwell, much more fun here

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